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Building a Book with an Audience

The psychologist and author Steven Pinker got some unexpected help when putting together his latest book, The Better Angels of Our Nature. His book argues that mankind is going through the least violent period in its history, and his work has received wide attention.

The argument of the book is interesting, as is Dr. Pinker’s career. Its creation speaks to how authors can rely on contributions from their audience to put together their books. Dr. Pinker had contributed to another book an essay about something that gave him optimism, and he answered that he was optimistic about the decline of violence. That prompted an outpouring of support from readers, colleagues and researchers, who sent him evidence of the decline of violence in many forms.

“It was beyond my wildest dreams,” Dr. Pinker says in a New York Times profile.  “I realized there was a book to be written.” Dr. Pinker hadn’t created a website to solicit ideas, or to further his research, but his platform as a linguistics expert (he is the author of several well-regarded and popular books on the subject), led his essay to find a wide audience.

Dr. Pinker uses his website, as many authors and thought leaders do, to talk about his work and respond to criticism.

He doesn’t use his website to engage with his readers in the kind of dialogue that can lead to books, but you can. You can use your website to begin your argument, to engage with your audience and to create your book online as your conversation with your readers continues and your thoughts take shape and gather force.

The online platform is becoming one of the most powerful in publishing, no matter what publishing path you choose (traditional, electronic, self, etc.). Before the year gets any older, register your domain name (either your name, the title of your book or something related to your specialty), and get to work beginning to put your site together.

You will have the beginnings of a platform, which is essential to your new career as an author. The writing isn’t the only thing anymore – it’s a part of your message, and a part of your becoming better known.

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One Response to “Building a Book with an Audience”

  1. Aldous Irving Jimenez-Echegoye December 13, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    I agree.  People spend a lot of time online so better create a platform in there and engage with your audience.

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